Program Completed: Higher Education Administration, EdM
Job Title: Academic Advisor
Louise Lalli, an alumna from the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, has had quite the journey leading to her current position as an undergraduate academic advisor in GSE. She was a stay at home mom for 13 years after she graduated with a BS in Business Administration, but realized she never really had an interest for business. Lalli’s true passion is working at a college, advising other students and being a mentor down a career path that is right for them.
“I find it so rewarding to help people, as it gives me a great deal of satisfaction and sense of accomplishment,” said Lalli. “After meeting with students, they will often express how much better they feel after coming into my office. They leave with a course of action and know what they have to do to be successful here at UB, and in their careers.”
Lalli wants students to understand patience is very important throughout their college experience because it is common to change their minds and their directions. “Changing majors happens all the time and when majors are not a good fit, I want students to know it is okay and realize they can start over,” Lalli said. “I wish I would have been aware of these things when I was an undergraduate, but I am thankful to pass down the lessons I learned over the years to help advise students.”
After working in higher education for nearly 15 years, Lalli decided to start her EdM to enforce her practical experience. She was attentive in learning about the theories surrounding education. Reading about these theories supported her anecdotal beliefs regarding students and the higher education program. As a student, she enrolled in a student development theory course, which she found to be very helpful because she is currently working with students who are undecided on what they want to with their life.
The higher education program helped Lalli learn more about the overarching structure of education. “I was taught more regarding life outside of academics for students and the issues with college from a business point of view,” Lalli said. “My degree really taught me the role that higher education plays in society.”
In the fall of 2019, the first group of incoming freshmen will enter the UB Teach Program. Lalli and other faculty members had an internal goal of acquiring 20 students to enroll into the program by the end of May, but they have already beat that goal as 23 current UB students changed their major into the UB Teach program. “Our greatest success is working with students who have found a new “fit” at UB,” Lalli said. “We give them the opportunity to graduate on time. Students who move into this program will earn both their bachelors and masters within five years and be certified to teach in New York State.”
Lalli would love to finish her career at UB, as she has been at this university for 20 years and she can see herself working for another five to ten years. When she retires, she would like to volunteer at a Boys & Girls Club or impact students that might not have the social capital to navigate the college access and choice process. She wants to help young students think about college at an early age to improve their long-term academic success.
“I love working in GSE and I feel like I have been lucky to spend my professional career here, as there is nothing else I would love to do,” said Lalli. “I want to have the biggest impact on students who lack direction and be here for the bumps and hits along their journey in college.”